Last month, USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a new, year long model program to test innovative local hire policies. For many of the Transportation Equity Network (TEN) leaders, like Ron Trimmer from the East St. Louis area, it was a dream come true. For years, at every TEN meeting with USDOT officials, the need for progressive, creative local hire policies was aired and shot down.
Our cry was heard at last, but the fight is not over.
Step One: Get your comment to USDOT by April 6th. Ron has already submitted his, but we need everyone who cares about low income people to do the same, …
Step Two: The model needs to be tested. Activists all over the country need to sit down with state transportation departments and city agencies and encourage them to create a local hire program. It's not too soon: Milwaukee, has already decided to require local hire on their downtown streetcar project.
As Sarah Treuhaft detailed in these pages, local hire can lift economies: every billion spent on transit ultimately translates into 50,000 jobs. Let's do what we can to make sure it lifts families too. We have one year to make sure that Local Hire works, reaching the people it intends to help.
(Photo credit: Flickr user Pam Broviak, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)